Mwonzora’s uncontested presidential nomination shrouded in controversy
THE uncontested nomination of Douglas Mwonzora (pictured)as MDC-T presidential candidate ahead of the party’s upcoming congress was the result of brazen intimidation, The NewsHawks has learnt.
Sources close to the developments say Mwonzora hired a crowd from the provinces to smuggle nomination onto the agenda of the national council meeting.
“There was a hired crowd, of course party members, but they were ungovernable. They kept singing about Dougie [Mwonzora] being the only candidate they want and the meeting was often disrupted. That’s how the nomination of candidates for congress started,” she said.
Another source added that there was extra security of muscle men like those that maintain order in bars and beerhalls to intimidate any voice contrary to that of the rowdy crowd.
“The meeting room was lined by bouncers, they were screaming Dougie’s name and at one point they told the chairman [Morgen Komichi] to sit down, and even the late president’s son, Vincent Tsvangirai, tried to raise a different note, he was booed until he sat down,” said the source.
“You have seen how Zanu PF youths behave, they feel like they have power through their proximity to the president, and that is the exact case that we had on the day of the meeting. No one could contain them,” she added.
The nomination did not only disempower other candidates, mainly Elias Mudzuri and Komichi — who are both presidential hopefuls — it was a direct breach of the party constitution, bemoaned another source who attended the meeting.
“There was a council [meeting], before this one where we resolved to have congress rules and regulations as the next agenda. You know this guy just mobilised members and told them ‘it’s a nomination meeting, come and nominate me’. I am sure the candidates found out too late that it was the agenda. And really there was no way of forcing people to nominate him as happened in that shameful council meeting,” he said.
Traditionally, nomination of members seeking a party mandate at congress is done through party structures in the provinces and the national council would endorse all nominees awaiting elective congress.
Members who congregated for the meeting that nominated Mwonzora said it was ironic that he was resorting to controversial tactics similar to the political fallout that led to the creation of the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC).
“President [Mwonzora] took Nelson Chamisa to court over a similar issue. I mean, Chamisa chaired a council meeting that elevated him to the presidency and he [Mwonzora] took him to court for breaching the party constitution. What has happened is disheartening and people now have three options: to go to Zanu PF, CCC or just stay away,” said a party member.
Contacted for comment, Mwonzora said there were no anomalies in the meeting.
“The meeting was held after due notice. We agreed in the standing committee that we are going to have that meeting and we even agreed on the date, so all the candidates and hopefuls were there and it was full house. All the 211 members of the national council came. Those who wanted to canvass support were able to do that. Nominations did take place in a free and fair manner,” he said.
“But of course where you have people who did not make it you always hear this,” added Mwonzora.
Other leaders eyeing the top post — namely Komichi and Mudzuri — are now hoping that congress will rescind the decision as provided for in the MDC-T constitution.
“The functions and powers of congress shall be able to review, ratify, modify, alter or rescind any decision taken by any organ or official of the party,” reads section 6.2.3.f of the party constitution.